Richard Wilkinson reminds us that about a thousand or so years ago, a Christian basilica was built in the first court to the Egyptian temple of Amun in modern-day Thebes, a basilica that was later replaced by an Islamic mosque.
What he doesn’t say is how the mosque was later converted into a bicycle rental and repair shop by day (and an after hours gay bar) when a lesbian couple, practicing Buddhists, moved to Thebes from Phoenix, Arizona, bought the old mosque and aptly named their new venture Dikes & Trikes.
What they cannot yet know is how, in a few years, Ginette, the more butch of the couple, will have an affair with the wife of a high-ranking government official and will be forced, under cover, to leave the country with a camel caravan heading towards what the ancients called the Red Land of the Sinai Peninsula.
She will never be heard from again.
Songs will be made up about her, legends told, ghosts occasionally seen.
The meaning of the name Ginette is “God is gracious.” In her case, we can only hope so.
Jenny, the other half of the couple, devastated, will return to Cleveland, Ohio, her hometown, where she will teach deaf children how to play the guitar.
After Dikes & Trikes, Starbucks will move in without much resistance, sharing the space with a sandwich shop—not Subway, not Quiznos, not Jersey Mike’s, but a Middle Eastern knockoff.
The falafel pita sandwiches will be its most popular menu item, followed closely by its soft-batch cinnamon sugar cookies, more commonly known as snickerdoodles.
Finally, years removed, a traveling shaman from some unrecognizable jungle religion with a six-thousand-year-old history will step up to the counter at the sub shop wearing nothing but a leather loincloth and order pastrami on wheat with mustard, lettuce and cucumbers, extra oil and vinegar—no onions, no tomatoes, no olives.
He will decline the meal deal with an almost imperceptible shake of his head and step next door to order a mocha Frappuccino, afterwards sipping it meditatively in the sunlight of the courtyard while making strange notations with his flint knife into his walking stick.